Substitutes for Beef Shank (8 Delicious Alternatives You Didnt Know About)

Are you keen to cook a beef shank?

The rich flavor of slow cooking in a dutch oven with braising liquid.

The comforting aroma of a hearty meal for all the family on cold winter nights.

But wait…

Your local butcher is sold out!

Don’t get upset; your planned hearty sauce with beefy flavor can still be enjoyed.

Here are my substitutes and hey, you might even prefer them.


My Top Alternatives for a Beef Shank

Cant;t find any beef shanks?

Get back in the butchers! Below have some delicious substitutes for beef shanks.

We are not foregoing any delicious flavors.

My list could even help save you some money.

Or try something new.

It’s a win-win!

Lamb Shank

Lamb shanks are the most obvious alternative.

They are the same cut and make an excellent substitute.

Lamb meat has a stronger flavor profile than beef and is more widely available in this cut.

The leg portion of a lamb is also smaller than that of cows.

The reason why lamb shanks are top replacements for a beef shank is that…

– Lean muscle content.

– Flavors you had planned for the beef will pair with lamb.

– Lamb is fattier which equals flavor.

The cooking method of a lamb shank is the same which is for a long period.

Develop the flavors with aromatics and red wine.

Lamb can take on lots of delicious flavor compounds.

Want to smoke your lamb shanks?



Don’t be put off by oxtail until you have tried it!

It is very similar to the meat content, intramuscular fat, and flavor of a beef shank.

Meats with lots of fat and connective tissue need to be broken down.

All the cuts of meat I suggest today should have a slow cooking time.

The tough meat from the oxtail needs a bit of time and love to transform into something special!

It is also an affordable option.

The reason why oxtail can be replaced for beef shanks is that…

– Similar cuts of beef in terms of texture.

– Best for prepared slow cooks with a savory beef flavor.

– Economical.

– Something different to try!


Beef Neck

Another type of meat cut that gets neglected but is tasty!

The beef neck has lean meat but the proteins are worked hard by the animal.

This means that it has tougher meat.

So if you want to avoid a chewy texture then we need to apply slow cooking methods.

Braising the tough pieces of the neck in broth is an excellent choice.

Although not as large as a beef shank, the neck pieces have more meat.

This is because the shank has a very large leg bone.

The neck’s firm texture is broken down to produce a melt-in-your-mouth sensation.

Why not put them in a beef stew?

The reason why neck can be replaced for beef shanks is that…

– It is similar to shank meat in terms of texture.

– Best for prepared slow cooks with savory beef and earthy flavor.

– Economical.

– Something different to try!

Smoked Ham

Can’t source beef, you should try ham as an alternative. It has a delicious salty flavor.

Want to smoke your ham? Try my Pit Boss smoked ham recipe here or try my smoked Christmas ham recipe.

Beef Tenderloins

Did you fancy a beef shank but didn’t have the time?

Look no further than beef tenderloin.

It lacks the chewiness of beef shank which means you don’t have to have a long cooking process.

The ratio of fat to protein and marbled texture makes it my personal favorite.

For a replacement beef shank.

Sear the meat on all sides on high heat.

Then braise in a tomato sauce for an Italian dish and a beautiful aroma.

Or just pan-sear quickly before adding on top of a hearty stew.

The reason why beef tenderloin can be replaced for beef shanks is that…

– Boneless options for fussy eaters!

– Can be cooked more quickly.

– A centerpiece for a special occasion.

See my smoked beef tenderloin recipe.


Vegan Beef Shank

I know what you’re thinking but just hear me out!

The vegetable-sourced protein made to mimic meat has come a long way!

Both in texture and taste!

Like pea protein or savory mushrooms.

Wheat gluten can be molded and makes a great alternative to meat.

Plus you can infuse aromatics to mimic beef shank flavor.

Don’t knock it until you’ve tried!

The reason why vegan options can be replaced for beef shanks is that…

– Boneless options for fussy eaters!

– Can be cooked the day before.

– Economical.

– Helps the environment.

– Gives an option for vegan guests.

Pork Short Ribs

Short ribs are another delicious substitute for the tasty beef shank.

I have chosen to use pork as they are a perfect size.

Short ribs come from the chuck portion of the animal.

Not the actual ribs!

Slow cooking will tenderize the meat and extract flavor from the bone.

You could add a few bay leaves with honey and soy sauce.

The reason why pork short ribs can be replaced for beef shanks is that…

– Pork has similar fat content to beef.

– A similar texture.

– Cheaper alternative.

– Pork pairs with sweeter flavors for a tasty change!

Note: pork belly portions will also work but are higher in fat and need more rendering.


Beef Chuck Roast

Think of a chuck roast like the tenderloin but less tender…

This larger cut is inexpensive and comes from the upper shoulder of the animal.

It makes a great beef shank substitute because it has a similar texture and flavor.

It is also widely available.

It also has the shoulder bone which when smoked or slow cooked, releases extra flavor.

Seal off the chuck and braise the whole with your favorite vegetables.

Cook for as long as you would the shank or until the meat is falling off the bone.

The reason why chuck roast can be replaced for beef shanks is that…

– Similar in both texture, muscle composition, and taste.

– A larger cut of meat to feed the family.

– Best cooked low and slow with plenty of ingredients.

See my smoked chuck roast recipe here.


What Is a Shank?

So after all of that, are you still wondering what the shank is?

The beef shank is the top leg and knee portion.

This muscle is used consistently by the animal.

So the proteins are tough, dry, and sinewy.

This is why we reccomend a low and slow cooking method.

To unlock the flavor!

What Does a Beef Shank Taste Like?

When you break down the tough proteins through a slow cook it is like opening a treasure chest!

The fat content and marrow within the bone offer a savory and tasty sensation.

The meat also takes up strong aromatics and spices.

Which infuse in the long cooking process.

Try a beef bourguignon with good red wine for a delicious dish.

Or maybe use it in a traditional stew with barley and fresh bread on the side.

What Other Names Are There for a Beef Shank?

The other popular name for a beef shank is Osso Bucco.

This is an Italian word and is typically cut thinner.

What Is the Best Way to Cook a Beef Shank?

The best way to cook a beef shank is low and slow.

You can either sous vide the beef shanks or smoke them.

Happy cooking!

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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